This post is the second part of a mini-series anchored around the following post: A Culinary Tour of Hot Pots Throughout Asia.
Filet Mignon for Hot Pot?
Are you serious?
Yes I’m serious, and let me tell you. It’s totally worth the extra cost. It is soooo delicious. It’s got the most buttery and soft texture. You’ll never go back to supermarket pre-sliced hot pot beef.
If people are willing to dip Kobe Beef into hot pot, then filet migon really shouldn’t be a stretch, should it?
I mentioned in my post yesterday that I had recently discovered the amazing taste of filet mignon in Chinese hot pots. My brother-in-law first introduced this awesome idea to us, and we have been hooked ever since. The first time I served it to dinner guests, it was the most popular item of the night! They couldn’t stop eating it!
Unfortunately for us, most Asian restaurants do not sell filet mignon pre-sliced into those thin slices that are ideal for hot pot. So, I had to take matters into my own hands.
It’s virtually impossible to slice meat thinly when it’s at room temperature. So, the first step is – freeze the meat. It’s probably best to separate the meat out into manageable chunks before freezing. I accidentally forgot to do this, and I struggled a bit in the beginning to chop up that huge hunk of frozen meat (see above) into manageable sized pieces (ideally about 3 inches by 4 inches or so – sliceable chunks).
Once you have manageable pieces of frozen meat, take each chunk and, using a cleaver, slice away (see picture above). The result won’t be as thin as what you’d get from a meat slicer, but it won’t be bad, and it will still be better than what you could have done with refrigerated meat.
Finally, let it finish defrosting, and serve! There is probably a window of about 30-45 minutes in which you can work once you start defrosting the meat. If the meat gets too soft, it becomes hard to slice thinly. If it’s too frozen, well, it’s hard to slice at all. Use your judgment. Work relatively quickly, but don’t fret too much – you do have some time and you should be able to finish with no problem. I was able to slice almost 3 lbs of Filet Mignon without having it get too soft.
Most important tip!
Don’t cook this meat for too long in the hot pot! Don’t EVER let it drop into the bottom of the pot and get lost (and then overcooked!) That would just be TOO SAD! Instead, hold onto your meat (either with chopsticks or with a wire mesh spoon), stick it in the boiling broth, and swish it around for about 5-10 seconds. Our waiter from Seryna in Tokyo taught us to swish the meat while chanting three times: “Shabu Shabu – Shabu Shabu – Shabu Shabu.” Then quickly remove the meat from the broth, dip in your desired sauce, and enjoy.
Not sure if chanting is a foolproof method, but it’s fun to do. In any event, the closer the meat is to being rare, the better it will likely taste. 🙂
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